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Florentine Cookies

Florentines are a favorite Old World cookie. Although preparing Florentine cookies requires several steps, you won't regret the extra time, especially when you see the satisfied smiles on the faces of family and friends lucky enough to sample them.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Baking time: 10 minutes

Yield: 20

3 tablespoons vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 cups sliced almonds

2/3 cup finely diced candied orange peel

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Lightly oil or spray the cups of two muffin pans (12 cups each).

  3. Cut the butter into small pieces.

  4. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, honey, and cream.

  5. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.

  6. Immediately add the almonds, candied orange peel, and flour.

  7. Stir vigorously until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute.

  8. Remove from the heat.

  9. Put a generous tablespoon of the mixture in each muffin cup.

  10. Dip the back of a spoon in cold water and press each mound to flatten.

  11. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden.

  12. Remove the muffin pans from the oven and cool on a rack for 5 minutes.

  13. Oil the bottom of a jelly roll pan.

  14. Place it over the top of the muffin tin and invert the tin to release the confections.

  15. Chop the chocolate into matchstick-size pieces and set aside 1/3 of them.

  16. Melt the remaining 2/3 in the top of a double boiler over hot water.

    Stir frequently with a rubber spatula to ensure even melting.

  17. Remove the top pan of the double boiler and thoroughly dry the bottom and sides of the pan.

  18. Stir in the remaining chocolate in three batches.

    Make sure that each batch is completely melted before adding the next. To test that the chocolate isn’t too hot for dipping, place a dab below your lower lip. It should feel comfortable. To hold the chocolate at the same temperature, place it over a shallow pan with water that’s slightly warmer.

  19. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper.

  20. Hold a cookie flat (horizontally) between your fingers and dip the bottom into the chocolate.

  21. Remove the cookie from the chocolate and let the excess drip off.

    To help remove excess chocolate, very lightly tap the cookie against the side of the pan.

  22. Place the cookie onto the cookie sheet, chocolate-side up.

  23. Repeat Steps 20 through 22 with three more cookies.

  24. Use a decorating comb or a fork to make a wavy pattern in the chocolate of the dipped cookies.

  25. Repeat Steps 20 through 24 until the cookie sheet is full.

  26. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to set the chocolate.

  27. Store in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Per serving: Calories 246 (From fat 158); Fat 18g (Saturated 7g); Cholesterol 20mg; Sodium 9mg; Carbohydrate 21g (Dietary fiber 2g); Protein 3g.

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